Success Stories

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She still bikes from her small house a few blocks away to her cute crammed shop in Lincoln’s bustling downtown, and bounds out from behind the counter with a smile to greet her regular customers coming from the university a short walk away.

Peggy Gomez has met all sorts of challenges over the past 12 years running her independent art supply store, from competing against the big chains to stocking brushes and canvases for the aspiring art student to the seasoned professional.

But a broken ankle gave her a challenge Gomez said she barely could afford.

After completing a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and a master’s in fine arts from the University of Minnesota, and a nine-week business preparatory course at Southeast Community College sponsored by the SBA, she started Gomez Art Supply in 2003 and moved to her present location three years later.

“I’d always been involved in arts, one way... Read More

Family-Owned Cardinal Farms of Dakota City Named SBA’s Nebraska Small Business of the Year

They've grown over six generations from a row crop farm in far northeast Nebraska into a modern example of green, sustainable agriculture, tripling revenues since 2000 under the leadership of family patriarch Doug Garwood (pictured). And now, Cardinal Farms, a family-owned agricultural firm in Dakota City, has been named the Cornhusker State's Small Business of the Year for 2014 by the Small Business Administration. The company, run by Garwood, who serves as president and chief executive officer, and his son Scott, who serves as vice-president and chief operating officer, last May used an SBA loan to help finance a new $1 million fresh fish production facility.

Cardinal Farms was chosen as the state’s top small business based on its history as an established business, growth in number of employees, increase in sales and unit volume, response to adversity and innovation in products and services offered.  They were nominated for the honor by Loren Kucera, Director, Nebraska... Read More

SBA Financing Puts Charge Into Du-Rite Electric’s Green Jobs, Contracting Work

When she was a young girl, Tracie Malesa often played a game in her family’s electrical contracting business.  She and her sister often would imitate her grandparents by holding imaginary business meetings of their own, pretending to schedule service calls and typing up little invoices, just to have fun.

There’s no playing around for her these days.  Malesa grew up to run Du-Rite Electric, an Elkhorn-based family-owned company that’s seen revenues climb 25 percent over the past year, and should soon expect another $1 million in growth thanks to burgeoning federal contracting work and the rising popularity of green projects.

Getting involved with federal contracting jobs

Du-Rite Electric has served local metropolitan homeowners, builders and contractors since the company was founded by her grandparents in 1958, but becoming a contract holder of the General Services Administration schedule opened the company to work on government projects creating an additional revenue... Read More

What is this female, white-collar executive doing running an electrical contracting business in Omaha?  Putting a valuable reputation built from 38 years of hard work serving neighbors, architects and builders in the area together with cutting-edge ideas in efficiency swiped from the button-down corporate world, that’s what.

And the result for D&J Electric?

“We punch above our weight class when it comes to large jobs,” agreed owner and operator Lori Buchanan.

'Does it feel right in our heads and our hearts?'

When Lori and her husband Jay searched a year ago for a small business to purchase, they discovered this small company tucked in a neighborhood southwest of 60th and L.  Didn’t matter that they were a little out of the way; continual referrals from contractors and business owners familiar with the work of their skilled electricians filled D&J Electric’s schedule with remodel and restoration jobs, from multi-story office buildings, warehouses and... Read More

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